Aiming to help small and medium-sized businesses take card payments, Square has made the UK the fifth country where its services are available – following on from Canada, Japan, Australia and the US.
The business was set up by Twitter founder Dorsey in 2009, a year after he gave up the role as CEO of the business to become chairman. Back then, he handed leadership over to fellow founder Evan Williams.
However, in 2010 Dorsey took on the role of executive chairman after a new CEO – Dick Costello – stepped into the breach. At this time he was splitting his time between Twitter and Square.
Then, in 2015, Dorsey became CEO again – on a temporary basis – after Costello stepped down following problems with monetising the Twitter audience. Since taking the role on an “interim” basis, no permanent leader has been found and Dorsey continues to be CEO of both Twitter and Square.
Now listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) after a 2015 IPO, Square has seen its value soar in the last six months as a greater number of companies have begun to use its services.
“We founded Square to empower small businesses with tools to accept all forms of payment and to make a sale anytime, anywhere,” said Dorsey. “We look forward to working alongside the millions of entrepreneurs and thriving small and medium-sized businesses across the UK, especially those who do not yet take card payments.”
Square is being grown against a backdrop of decreasing use of cash, with research showing that the average adult now carries less than £25 on them. However, separate statistics suggest less than half of Britain’s 5.4m small businesses take card payments.
Sarah Harvey, who is UK country manager for Square, said Square’s software represents a transparent service that provides a “suite of business tools” designed to make it cost-effective to take card payments.
Prior to its NYSE listing, Square raised nearly $600m of institutional investment from backers including Sequoia Capital and Richard Branson. Its final fundraising, in October 2014, saw it secure $150m and achieve a valuation of $6bn.
Businesses in the UK will be able to access the Square Reader for £39, after which a fee of 1.75 per cent is levied for in-person card payments and 2.5 per cent for online or phone purchases.
“We’re thankful to the sellers who have helped us launch and all of our partners in the industry for welcoming us to the UK,” added Dorsey.